The age old debate surfaces yet again… is it better for teachers to focus on breadth or depth of knowledge and concepts? According to recent data from the latest ACT National Curriculum Survey, released by ACT, Inc., high schools should focus on providing in-depth instruction of fundamental knowledge and essential skills. The research involved surveying thousands of secondary and postsecondary instructors. The data reveal that high school learning standards are still not sufficiently aligned with postsecondary expectations. Basically, college instructors expect high school graduates to have more focused and specific skills and knowledge.
Reading skills surfaced as an area of concern for college instructors. While the majority of high school teachers (two thirds) feel that high school students are graduating with the reading skills required for success in college, only a third of college instructors echoed that sentiment. The data suggests that more attention needs to be focused on high school reading instruction. Interestingly, the data also suggests that content-area knowledge remains more important than “21st century student outcomes”.
The data seem to coincide nicely with the current national common standards initiative and Hawaii’s P-20 efforts to ensure the seamless transition from high school to college.